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Doppler Radar Wildlife Detection Systems - Testing Reliability and Effectiveness

Started: April, 2015 Ended: December, 2016 Project ID #4W5440 Status: Completed

Results & Findings

The final report contains data on the reliability and effectiveness of an animal detection system along U.S. Hwy 95 near Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The system uses a Doppler radar to detect large mammals (e.g., deer and elk) when they approach the highway. The system met most of the suggested minimum norms for reliability. The total time the warning signs were activated was at most 90 seconds per hour, and likely substantially less. Animal detection systems are designed to detect an approaching animal. After an animal has been detected, warning signs are activated which allow drivers to respond. Results showed that 58.1–67.9% of deer were detected sufficiently early for northbound drivers, and 70.4–85% of deer were detected sufficiently early for southbound drivers. The effect of the activated warning signs on vehicle speed was greatest when road conditions were challenging (e.g., freezing temperatures and snow- and ice-covered road surface) and when visibility was low (night). In summer, there was no measurable benefit of activated warning signs, at least not as far as vehicle speed is concerned. Depending on the conditions in autumn and winter, the activated warning signs resulted in a speed reduction of 0.69 to 4.43 miles per hour. The report includes practical recommendations for operation and maintenance of the system and suggestions for potential future research.

Objective

The objective of this project is to evaluate the performance of a Doppler Radar-based wildlife detection system for the Idaho Department of Transportation.

Abstract

The objective of this project is to evaluate the performance of a Doppler Radar-based wildlife detection system for the Idaho Department of Transportation (ITD).  Field evaluation of the system will take place in ITD District 1 on US-95 in boundary County Idaho.  WTI will assess system reliability at detecting large animals on or adjacent to the roadway.  The study will also measure the effectiveness of the system at reducing vehicle speeds when animals are present and reducing wildlife vehicle collisions.  Researchers will compare the performance of the system with available research regarding the performance of other wildlife detection systems.  Finally, WTI will prepare a final report summarizing objectives, methodology, findings, and recommendations.

Contacts

Files & Documents

Sponsors & Partners

  • Idaho Transportation Department (IDT) Sponsor

Part of: Road Ecology, Technology and Technology Transfer

Project Tagged In: wildlife-vehicle collisions, wildlife detection system

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